You’ll often find that truly dedicated experts come from a place of knowing; they’ve been there and struggled through it, learned the lessons and come out the other side, intact. They are passionately motivated to embark on careers where their experiences, and the skills perfected from years of overcoming challenges, will provide support and education to others.
Such was my own path defined by a personal journey with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which led to the opening of Newborn Advantage. It was the culmination of more than 14 years in the industry, walking with others through their cycles, and waging a personal battle against my diagnosis of “unknown secondary infertility.”
Unable to get pregnant for the second time, I underwent several years of insemination and vitro fertilization cycles. These treatments made it very tough on my happy union, and on my physical and emotion wellbeing. When we were later blessed with twin boys, I couldn’t stop thinking about the impact of infertility on the lives of couples wanting desperately to conceive.
I appreciate this opportunity to share with you the following effective strategies defined with each of my clients, helping them clarify their goals while reducing the stress which can crop up during treatment.
Maximizing Your ART Opportunities
- Enlist a team approach: Employ the services of multidisciplinary professionals, rather than relying on the comfort and counseling you need from your physician or their nurses. Your doctor is your subject matter expert, a therapist provides emotional support (along with friends and family). Also, rely on your lawyer for 3rd cycle agreements and a financial planner to help figure where the funds will come from.
- Establish a foundation of financial resources: Working with a financial planner before you start treatment is essential. Make certain adequate money is set aside for all possible expenses involved with 2 cycles. Caution is critical to retaining your hope and clarity when things don’t go quite the way you wanted them to; preparing your financial game plan ahead of time will allow you to go forward with less strain.
- Define your end goal for building a family: When you start with clear intentions, knowing how large a family you would like to have (and the money it will take to achieve the goal), you’re better equipped to make it through the process successfully. Your decisions will impact the way you are able to utilize insurance benefits, as well as handle upcoming 3rd party cycles.
- Establish indicators of when to change course: In order to take advantage of treatment options, you must define parameters and time frames. The “if, then” scenarios you will experience with ART – not to mention your own personal challenges – involves weighing your outcomes realistically against your diagnosis, within the confines of your budget. Making decisions at the onset of treatment is recommended, instead of dealing with these issues at the end of your cycles when you’re more likely to have more stress.
- Analyze each option for success in conjunction with its cost: Consult with an unbiased, professional to give you their objective point of view to consider. Take an honest look at the average rate of success for each treatment, given your particular situation. Many times your judgment can be obscured by emotional wear and tear, while a consultant can provide invaluable support and a steady hand.
- Communicate with your partner, openly and frequently: When there are concerns, work through them together. If it is difficult, for any reason, to discuss issues and resolve conflicts – enlist the help of a professional consultant or therapist to help break the ice. Plan on multiple cycles from the beginning. Identify resources for the best possible donors or surrogates; there isn’t any need to settle for a candidate that is less than an optimal choice for both of you.
- Make informed and confident medical decisions: Achieving your best possible results requires educating yourself about treatment options and your individual diagnoses. It also means keeping within the desires and comfort zone of your relationship. Don’t hesitate to ask all your questions and enlist a second opinion if need be. Be aware of your maximum lifetime insurance benefits, and keep a copy in writing.
Sometimes ART can be demanding, and at times it might be a bit scary – but more often it is exciting and empowering. Always ask your questions and reach out for help when you are confused or worried. Your rewards are going to be worth all the time and effort you’ve devoted to the journey!